The oft-maligned ‘rotation system’ is being put to yet another test over in London. Chelsea failed to sufficiently flourished under ‘Tinkerman’ Claudio Ranieri, who’s desire to mix and match his team was finally matched only by Roman Abramovich’s chequebook before it was ultimately a major factor in demise.
Now, it’s Martin Jol’s Tottenham who try to put to bed any argument that multiple, highly-paid, highly-ambitious footballers can happily share a position. Replacing Freddie Kanoute with Gregor Rasziak eased some of the headache, as Mido is now the obvious first choice targetman when fit while Gregor can have few complaints about being on the bench. The battle for the second striker spot, however, is a different story.
Jermaine Defoe and Robbie Keane have been jostling for position ever since the former arrived at White Hart Lane in 2003, they’ve been played together but coach and fans alike have quickly decided that two midgets is one too many to play up front.
Defoe took understandable priority at the start of the season. The ex-Charlton/West Ham player burst into the England squad on the back of last season and started in strong form. However, his recent drop in terms of scoring (only 3 goals in the last 14 matches) mixed with Robbie’s super-sub performances and goal over the weekend, have led to the Irishman moving to the top of the pecking order.
“I don’t think there’s a lot to choose between them,” said Martin Jol. “I chose Jermain for the first 12 games but, when he didn’t score for a couple of games, I thought about Robbie and he is motivated and always trains hard.”
“As a team we have a good spirit and the players respect each other. Jermain has seen that Robbie didn’t moan and he must be the same.”
“The only thing I want from him is that he develops into a top player. That’s our main target,” said Jol.
“He’s maybe the best finisher in the game, but he can improve on an awful lot of things and I’ve talked with him about that. When he comes back, you will see he’s a better player.
“This is not a setback for him. Jermain played 29 games last season, while Robbie played 28 and it will be the same at the end of this season.”
While the whole Robbie-didn’t-moan thing isn’t entirely true, he hasn’t been public in his dissent and has certainly been professional in his attitude considering he could easily hand in a transfer request and find himself starting at almost any other Premiership club. With Jermaine having a history of somewhat hasty reactions , it’ll be interesting to see how things unfold.